The stories below were prepared for The Daily News.
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Some LGBTQ students wary of gender-inclusive pilot coming to Ball State
by Kelsey Dickeson / 3:00 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018
While some may be excited about the gender-inclusive housing pilot program coming to Ball State this year, not all members of the LGBTQ community are convinced it will be successful.
The pilot program was announced Jan. 23 by Alan Hargrave, director of Housing and Student Life, in a campus-wide email.
According to the email, beginning in Fall 2018, 30 rooms will be designated for the pilot program. The rooms will be spread across several residence halls with “bathroom privacy,” including Johnson Complex A and B, Kinghorn Hall, Park Hall and Studebaker East.
The foundation of the gender-inclusive pilot program at Ball State was laid out in legislation passed by the Student Government Association and the Residence Hall Association in February 2017.
Several public universities in Indiana already have gender-inclusive living options for students, including Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Purdue University. Indiana University also has a LGBTQ resource center for students.
Meara Delaney, a senior social work major who identifies as agender, said that although they would have benefited from a gender-inclusive living situation, they don’t believe the program is a “cure all.”
“The idea of separating a group of people, and like really emphasizing that idea of them being ‘other’ is kind of dangerous,” Delaney said. “It’s important to have safe spaces, but I worry about the way that people who aren’t in the safe space will look at it, and what they’ll think about it.”
Delaney is not the only member of the LGBTQ community with concerns about the pilot program.
Ben Slightom, a senior architecture major at Ball State, opted to live alone in the residence halls for three years, because he said he didn’t feel comfortable living with someone he didn’t know well.
Although Slightom said he is skeptical of the pilot program, he said it could have been a positive experience for him when he was in the dorms.
“I would have had more options when it came to choosing who I wanted to live with and how I felt comfortable. I think I probably wouldn’t have lived alone for three years if I had had the option to choose someone that I felt truly comfortable with,” Slightom said.
Like Delaney, Slightom said he fears how people at Ball State may view the program.
“It might be thought about more as a living learning community, and I personally think that that mentality is also wrong, where we need to sequester and segregate these students into their own community,” Slightom said. “I think for a lot of these students, the choice of who they live with is not one about the greater social group that they want to identify with. It’s about personally who do they feel comfortably living with.”
Slightom said he hopes the program can bring indifference about notions of gender and living situations.
“If I’m here, if I’m part of Ball State and making a positive impact … what does it make a difference to you who I’m living with? This is a choice not about stating who I am. It’s about making sure that when I come home at night I feel comfortable being there,” Slightom said.
The pilot program will be evaluated after the Spring 2019 semester to see if it should be implemented during future academic years.
Gluten Free Bakery
Daily News article / February 27, 2017
Chick-fil-A hosts Valentine’s Day dinner
The Daily News | Kelsey Dickeson Published February 15, 2016
Love birds of all ages enjoyed a non-traditional Valentine’s Day meal at Chick-fil-A on Feb. 13.
Seating times for customers were at 5 p.m., 6:15 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Customers made reservations for the event about a month in advance and paid $10 per person. The restaurant was fully booked for the event with each time slot seating about 30 people.
Employees at Chick-fil-A, located at 511 W. McGalliard Rd., began setting up the restaurant for its second annual Valentine’s Date Night an hour before the event.
Thirteen tables in the center of the room were covered with white table clothes and set with white plates, clear silver cups and plastic silverware. The tables were each topped with white flowers and white rose candles floating in glasses of water. Strings of yellow lights hung from the ceiling.
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Rachael Cowin, head of marketing for Chick-fil-A, said she had been planning the event for two months. Cowin said the restaurant did its best to break even on the cost of the event.
“We don’t really do this to make money; … we do it just to, you know, make people happy and create those moments for them,” Cowin said.
Customers were seated at their tables where waiters took their orders and served them food ordered from the Chick-fil-A menu. A band made up of a pianist, a saxophonist and a singer played live music during the dinner.
Wayne Simmons, a customer from Hartford City, Ind., said he and his wife go to Chick-fil-A more than any other restaurant.
“If you want to have a great experience, this is the place to come,” Simmons said.
Cowin said the restaurant will most likely make the event an annual tradition, and Simmons said if he is in town, he will be there.
As people finished eating, waiters brought customers goodie bags containing cupcakes and passed out red roses.
Cowin said the event attracts a wide range of people, including older couples, families and “raving fans.”
“We have actually a mother and son sitting at one table and then a daddy and daughter sitting at another close to each other, and they said that they want to teach their son how to be a proper man on a date, so he can watch his daddy,” Cowin said.
Cowin said some Chick-fil-A locations host Valentine’s Date Night, though others do not. In the past, Muncie Chick-fil-A has hosted a daddy-daughter date night and a mother-son date night on Valentine’s Day.